The unfolding grandeur of the first rays mesmerized me. "Ain't it gorgeous?" a voice croaked from behind, startling me. I turned and could just make out an older woman with long gray hair sitting in a beach chair, smoking a cigarette. "I'll never get tired of seeing it, " she said in her husky, smoke coated voice. I was chilled in my yoga pants and sweat shirt. I couldn't figure out how she was not shivering in her bikini top and cut off denim shorts.
"It really is a thing of beauty," I replied as I took this shot.
The nascent light revealed more of her features. In addition to her gray hair, the nut brown color of her skin bespoke a life lived in the sun. Her bikini top was more a hammock for its tired occupants than a support.
"I love to start my days like this. Just me, my cigs, and the sun. Makes me feel like I'm starting all over, too, just like the sun does everyday."
I nodded in agreement as I set up for the third photo.
She continued. "When I was a teenager, back in the 60's, we didn't trust anything that looked old." She took a long drag on her cigarette as I tried to move away from the exhalation. "Sheesh. We thought we knew it all then. They called us hippies, and a lot of other names that weren't very nice. We just wanted to find truth. Thought we could save the world, that we had all the answers."
I nodded to show her I was still listening while I maneuvered for my next picture. The heavenly volcanoes of the sun were about to pour their molten light all over the sky.
"We thought we knew it all, but we didn't. And I just have to kind of laugh at each new generation who thinks they know it all." She inhaled deeply as she took another puff.
"I think we all go through that, you know, where we think we know it all better than the generation before us," I commented.
She cackled and ended with a dry, rattling cough. "Yep. Old age. You never think it's going to catch you, but when it does, it surprises you with the wisdom it brings. Hey, do you know where old hippies go to die?"
I stopped for a minute as she continued. "We come here to the beach and ride those beautiful sun rays right up to the sky!"